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The Best Places to Stay in French Polynesia

By Rachel Singh, Writer

Travel Le Taha Polynesia

The world is your oyster and travel options are plentiful, especially with more countries opening up to foreign travelers. After a brutal couple of years, don’t we all deserve a little piece of paradise? If you are looking for a slice of heaven, French Polynesia should be very high on your list. This group of 118 divine islands and atolls might just be the promised land. Here’s how to get a taste of Tahitian luxury, with the best places to stay in French Polynesia.

When to Go: 

Now.  Run, don’t walk.  It is puzzling that French Polynesia is still, to a certain degree, isolated from the rest of the world. Perhaps its remote location helps keep massive tourist crowds at bay. There has been an increasing number of nonstop flights from LAX, along with a few hip hospitality newcomers. The islands might attract more tourists now that things are getting back to “normal.” Either way, check into one of the best hotels in French Polynesia. You’ve come this far, so make it count.

What to Eat:

Traditional Polynesian cuisine consists mainly of the catch of the day and fresh fruit and produce from the island, especially vanilla. Ice-cold fresh papaya and passion fruit juice is just one of the many refreshing drinks here. You can start the day with coconut milk French toast, and by dinner have fresh mahi mahi delivered daily by local fishermen.

Unless you are staying in Tahiti, you will eat most of your meals at your hotel. There are current logistical constraints of moving around the islands. Nonetheless, dinner at another property can be arranged through a boat ride or helicopter transfer. Make it a day trip and visit another island at the same time. Consider Lagoon by Jean-Georges at the St. Regis, or Le Vanille at Le Taha’a.

What to Do:

French Polynesia’s main draw is undoubtedly its crystal-clear turquoise waters. They shine like diamonds under the heavy sun. And the picture-perfect white sand beaches only add to this tropical paradise.

There are endless water activities available for your enjoyment. They include snorkeling, kitesurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and sailing. And don’t forget to hop on a jet ski too. There’s even whale watching and deep sea fishing if you want to do something more laid back. The South Pacific really is your oyster.

On land, expect lush greenery and lots of colorful birds and flowers. To name just a few, activities on land may include bicycle rides, nature walks, tennis and beach volleyball. There is even flora and fauna educational classes, bird watching, nursery visits and stargazing.

When you check-in to one of the best places to stay in French Polynesia, there’s always the option of doing nothing at all. There’s nothing wrong with laying on the beach while sipping cocktails. There is something for everyone.

The Best Places to Stay in French Polynesia:

The St. Regis Bora Bora

Drop your carry-on in a spacious overwater bungalow overlooking Mount Otemanu. The bungalows have large glass floors to observe marine life, a bathtub with stunning sea views, and a ladder for direct sea access to get closer to the sharks and rays. The resort is vast, so bicycles are available throughout the property. We highly recommend snorkeling in the property’s Lagoonarium, an underwater sanctuary for easy observation of tropical fish and coral. It’s like swimming in your own exotic aquarium.

The St. Regis is known for its distinct butler service, an iconic brand component for more than 100 years. That means no need to unpack and repack your luggage, your garments will be pressed and ready before dinner. And best of all, coffee will be promptly delivered every morning while your bungalow’s shades are opened. Here’s to another beautiful day in paradise and some stunning views too.Travel Polynesia Coqui Coqui

Coqui Coqui Bora Bora

Coming soon – After the success of their Yucatán, Mexico hotel that contributed to Tulum’s bourgeois bohème mecca reputation, the couple behind Coqui Coqui is currently working on opening a hotel on Bora Bora. Stay tuned for an update on the hotel opening.

Nukutepipi

Let’s give a round of applause to Cirque du Soleil cofounder Guy Laliberté for delivering one of the most magical secluded island retreats ever created.

After more than a decade scouting and transforming his island into an elegant and fascinating retreat, Nukutepipi (“Nuku”) is now open to the public (and available on Airbnb!). The island is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 km from Tahiti’s main airport. From there, Nuku is accessible only by private chartered flight, making it one of the most remote islands in the world available for rent.

As if its pristine white sand beaches and heavenly unspoiled natural beauty were not enough, the island is further embellished by a private collection of artwork by renowned international artists that pays tribute to the Polynesian culture. An astronomical observatory is also available for the ultimate stargazing experience. You can’t argue that it’s one of the best places to stay in French Polynesia.

Make it Your Own Private Island

You can rent the island entirely for yourself, or not. The maximum capacity on the island is only 50 people. The master residence offers 6,000 square feet of modern luxury, including a private infinity pool, two two-bedroom villas with separate infinity pools, and 13 one-bedroom bungalows. Dining options are extensive, from picnics on the beach to food trucks in the forest to fine dining, and anything in between. Just let the chefs know what you fancy. This is the ultimate island vacation fantasy.

Pool lined with palm trees facing the ocean.

The Brando

Opened in 2014 and one of the world’s first ultra-luxury eco-conscious resorts, the Brando needs no introduction. The Brando is located on the Tetiaroa atoll and accessible only by private plane or helicopter (20 minutes from Tahiti’s airport). The Brando is another great option for exclusive luxury and ultimate privacy. It has won countless awards and is a favorite among celebrities.

The Rooms

Accommodations on the atoll range from one-bedroom to three-bedroom villas, or Residences by The Brando (i.e., secluded three-bedroom houses). Villas are tastefully designed to seamlessly marry luxuriant interior with lush exterior. The master bathrooms have a dreamy outdoor bathtub, and each villa has a private plunge pool.

The Brando offers all the modern amenities, including multiple bars and restaurants, an extensive selection of water and on-land activities, a spa, a fitness center, a library, a pearl shop and an Eco-station for conservation and research.

 

French Polynesia Le Taha'a

Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa

This Relais & Chateaux member is located on its own islet off Taha’a – the vanilla island. With 80% of Tahitian vanilla produced on Taha’a, visiting one of the vanilla plantations is a must while here.

The resort is composed of 45 overwater bungalows and 12 villas exemplifying refined yet classic Polynesian architectural style. Villas have private plunge pools and white sand beach and lagoon access. The charming overwater bungalows offer outdoor showers, direct lagoon access, and a small glass floor bedside to observe the fish, rays, and sharks directly from your bed.

Luxurious, and Eco-Conscious

Not only is it one of the best places to stay in French Polynesia, Le Taha’a is also eco-conscious. It sourced 90% of its construction materials from the island. And it offers an inventive seasonal menu composed mainly of local produce, fish and meat to avoid imports as much as possible.

In addition to a large selection of water and on-land activities, the hotel offers its own diving club. Guests are also invited to visit the island’s rum distillery and black pearl farm. It’s no wonder that it’s one of the best luxury resorts around.

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